Holland’s 10 finest boardrooms (part 1): When confidentiality or exclusive settings are top priority

When organizing meetings, the venue you choose has great impact on how your delegates perceive the entire meeting. Traditionally the exclusive domain of the board for their meetings, now more and more people discover the advantages of meeting in the comfort and luxury of a well-designed and equipped boardroom. Every meeting planner must have a shortlist with the best, most unique and authentic facilities throughout Holland. State-of-the art technology, excellent food and beverages and top-class service are a given.

I hereby share my fine and out-of-the ordinary selection of boardrooms in Holland. This week you’ll read about the first 5, next week I will post about the others.

10. The Manhattan Hotel – Rotterdam

Offering no less than six sumptuous boardrooms on the upper floors of The Manhattan Hotel, your meeting will be a success, especially with the backdrop of Rotterdam’s skyline. Stunning views and state-of the-art facilities make these boardrooms ideal settings for your meeting or intimate event.


9. Board Room – Hotel Okura

Everything you may need in a boardroom, combined with impeccable service and delicious culinary offerings. This is what the stylish boardroom of the Okura Hotel Amsterdam offers the international meeting guest. Combine your meeting with a private dining experience overlooking the city of Amsterdam from the hotel’s panoramic rooms on the 23rd floor.


8. Penthouse Boardroom Bel Air Hotel – The Hague

Another top-level boardroom, with stunning views of The Hague’s skyline, is located on the uppermost floor of the Bel Air Hotel The Hague. The privacy on this floor appeals to many a meeting planner and creates an ideal setting for confidential meetings. There is ample space and two separate seating areas. All technical facilities are available, including video-conferencing. The venue is next to the World Forum Convention Centre and the International Criminal Court.


7. De Brouwerskamer (Brewer’s Room) – Heineken Experience

De Brouwerskamer is a room like no other, and a very intimate one at that. It features unrivalled, breathtaking grandeur, while retaining a pleasant, personal feel. It exudes the atmosphere of the good old days. The presence of the master brewers is still discernable in this beautifully decorated room. The books in the library reveal their secret recipes.


6. Zaamen – Haarlem

Named the best ‘smart co-work centre’ of Holland, Zaamen is a new and trendy hotspot for entrepreneurial professionals. Offering flex work spaces, stylish offices for freelancers and young entrepreneurs, and excellent settings for meetings and brainstorm sessions, Haarlem has  created a vibrant and inspiring place to be. The Castor boardroom is stylishly decorated and offers a great view of the Nieuwe Gracht.


And many more…

It goes without saying that there are many more excellent boardrooms available throughout the country that could have easily made this list as well. I had the luxury to pick from a wide array of beautiful venues and extraordinary facilities, yet the difficult task to narrow it down to only ten.

Which exclusive venue is missing from this list according to you? Share your tips!

New in Holland: Everything is fashion at Hotel Modez

The unique Hotel Modez opened recently in the city of Arnhem, in the eastern part of Holland. The name is a fusion of MOde (Fashion), Design, and ArtEZ (the Arnhem Art Academy). The renowned illustrator Piet Paris, along with over thirty fashion designers, created the concept and design.

The hotel is situated in the Arnhem fashion quarter – a revitalization of a historic district – and the rooms exude fashion. In the breakfast room you can virtually feel the couturier at work in his office. The elevator is a mini fashion museum that takes you up along fashion photography and illustrations at each floor. Many of the 20 rooms are named after couturiers and designers who came up with surprising concepts that characterize their style.

Check for more info: www.hotelmodez.com

New in Holland: Five centuries of history at Prinsenhof Groningen

Friars and princes went before you in the Prinsenhof, a beautifully restored church from the early 15th century. The historic grandeur has been restored, and is combined with all modern conveniences to create this newest gem in the heart of the city of Groningen.

The entire staff is ready to ensure the success of your business meeting from 10 to 300 people, or your private dinner. The Garden Room is one of the nicest rooms, overlooking the beautiful Prinsentuin garden. The Vaults Cellar is the place for a drink after your meeting.

Check for more info www.prinsenhof-groningen.nl

5 new ‘hidden secrets’ of Holland: venues and meeting spaces you will not easily find by yourself

Not all venues make the guides. You need to be told about these exclusive gems by insiders who know their way around Holland. Read about my latest discoveries.

1. MOBI Groningen

MOBI is an experimental mobile building, in which artists and creatives can organize presentations, exhibitions and workshops. The unconventional, temporary venue is located in the Groningen Ebbingekwartier area. Viewed from the street, MOBI resembles a terminal. The building consists of containers that have seen the world; in Groningen they are the building blocks for the space of artist initiative NP3.

Transshipment terminals are for goods, this place is a transfer of ideas and contemporary art. The building is energy neutral and can easily be disassembled to be rebuilt elsewhere, wholly or partly. All these aspects make MOBI a totally out-of-the-box location for your event. The surprising setting will certainly inspire your attendees, creating a lasting memory.


2. De Vloer (Creative campus Almere)

The Floor is a creative and inspiring meeting room, and you decide how you want to furnish the 140m² space. Thus, a comfortable setting is easily created for groups of 2-60 people. The luxury levels of catering that can be selected are ‘Concrete’, ‘Wood’ or ‘Marble’.

The space itself combines the industrial setting of this former water treatment building with a surprisingly light design interior. Everything is just a bit different, the bar is movable, there is a cozy open fire, and special armchairs conjure a smile on your face!


3. Lute

Lute in Ouderkerk, just outside Amsterdam, is widely known for its fantastic cuisine. The very inspiring and passionate owner-chef Peter Lute also offers two exclusive boardrooms, for 8 and 12 people, with a private entrance and outdoor area in his 17th-century former factory.

All facilities are available and the lovely  interior is an inspirational setting for your meetings. The “good news wall” is a nice touch that gets attendees in the right mood easily. Lute also has its own boat, for meetings and dinners on the river Amstel.


4. De Bossche Boardroom

Are you organizing confidential summit on neutral ground? Do you require a meeting room that offers tranquility and seclusion, yet all the high-tech features you require, and culinary delights?

The Bossche Boardroom is your venue. Located on the penthouse floor of the ICT Media building in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the boardroom has an exclusive and private atmosphere, extensive audio-visual facilities, excellent cuisine, and a cozy bar. The design and materials are honest and warm. The space is both light and private, thanks to thoughtfully chosen colors and glass windows.


5. Het Klaslokaal Utrecht

A small but beautiful and unique venue, situated in a monumental public school that dates from 1881, right in the heart of Utrecht.

One of the former classrooms was converted into a spacious, quiet and very light work and residential area. This provides a very special and homely setting for your next conference, meeting or brainstorming session.


At which of these ‘hidden secrets’ would you like to organize a meeting? And why do you prefer this one? Let me know in the comments!

10 surprising Green Social Programs to make your meetings more sustainable (part 2)

Last week I wrote this blogpost about “10 surprising Green Social Programs to make your meetings more sustainable (part 1)”. Well, here is part 2 with 5 more surprising Green Social Activities.

The footprint of your meetings and events may be reduced in many ways, e.g. the venue and hotels, transportation, and food & beverage. This time, I would like to share some great Dutch examples of an often overlooked part of the meeting when it comes to CSR: the Social Program.

Be inspired! And I would love to hear what your favourite program would be.

6. Netherlands Water Museum – Mirror Walk

Every company has to deal with processes that require insight and ideas. Through the Mirror Walks that the Netherlands Water Museum offers, people are challenged to get off the normal paths and away from established thinking patterns. By literally going into the forest, the coach shows you the forest is as changeable as an organization.

Learn from nature and mirror what you see in your organization. A unique experience and a great new perspective on your organization and yourself.

7. Nature through the eye of the photographer

Marco de Paauw is one of Holland’s top nature photographers. Under his expert guidance, you will experience the beauty, versatility and fragility of Dutch nature.

You will see and experience for yourself the inspiration for those beautiful pictures you normally only see in books and magazines

8. E-step (E-scooter)

Holland is a cycling country par excellence, but we are also home to the ‘step’, a type of man-powered scooter. A twist on this classic is the e-step, an electric powered type of scooter.

Especially great for exploring nature, as the e-scooters are motorized, yet have zero emission and are completely silent. Great to combine with gaming elements, such as GPS tours.

9. Sand castles

Holland is home to a unique institute, the World Sand Sculpting Academy. The academy transforms most children’s favorite beach activity into a real art. Amazing sculptures can be admired worldwide during festivals, and now you have the opportunity to use ‘the elements’ as the building blocks for your creation.

Sand and water are the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable team-building event.

10. Make your own cheese

The Dutch have a worldwide reputation when it comes to cheese. They gladly offer you a chance to discover the secret of making the best cheese.

Experience a step-by-step demonstration and workshop at a real cheese farm, and become an expert in converting fresh cow milk into cheese.

Do you have any suggestions?

Of course this only a small selection of all the possibilities. Do you have any suggestions? Please comment below!

10 surprising Green Social Programs to make your meetings more sustainable (part 1)

When organizing your meeting in Holland, rest assured that providers will do their utmost to assist you with a meeting that has no larger ecological and ethical footprint than absolutely necessary.

The footprint may be reduced in many aspects of the meeting or event you are organizing, e.g. the venue and hotels, transportation, and food & beverage. This time, I would like to share some great Dutch examples of an often overlooked part of the meeting when it comes to CSR: the Social Program.

Holland is fortunate to have an abundance of water, wind and earth (sand) to make use of for your event. Many suppliers have created environmentally-friendly programs for you and your groups, whether for team building, excursions, spouse programs or any other activity. They have made use of the elements to create both energetic and less active tailor-made and unforgettable events.

Below I have listed the first 5 inspirational ideas for you, some examples of the virtually unlimited possibilities.

1. Farmers’ Golf

A lot of the Dutch heritage is derived from farming and some 18% of the country is currently farmland. Dutch farmer Peter Weenink created a new sport in 1999, farmers’ golf. An everyman’s twist to the real golf, placed in the backdrop of the farmland and utilizing whatever is available on the land to create an alternative to sand bunkers.

A special clog-club is used to get the ball into the hole, a buried churn. A farmer’s common sense was solved the problem of the golf ball getting lost in high grass and cow manure: a bigger ball! A guaranteed sustainable experience and a game that everyone can play!

2. Making responsible pasta – Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

Fifteen Amsterdam was the first restaurant to adopt Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen concept. Since 2004, fifteen to 20 disadvantaged, but highly motivated, young people at a time have been given the opportunity to become chefs and reintegrate into the community, through a sixteen-month training program. At the moment, 80% of all candidates are still successfully employed!

Join the Chef and his unique team for a popular pasta workshop. Work with only fresh, local and seasonal products, and immerse yourself in an exclusive experience. Preparing and cooking a meal together creates a special bond, especially if the ‘creations’ are jointly consumed.

3. Water bikes

Combining two of Holland’s icons – water and bikes – is a truly sustainable way to discover the city by ‘power of men (and women)’. Our water bikes are a great way to get a different perspective on the cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Delft and Zwolle.

You can either ‘just bike’ or organize a ‘company rally mystery tour’.

4. Kiting on the beach

It is a great feeling to steer your kite in the wind and prevent it from falling mercy to the wind. The Dutch twist is to jointly build and operate your own mega-flyer.

A special team project in which group effort and communication are key. Each team builds a part of the 3D kite, which parts will be merged into a mega kite. The whole group puts it to the test when launching the kite together on the beach. Will it stay up in the air?

5. Eco-art workshop

Ever created a painting without paint? Well, this eco-art workshop uses nothing but (clean) waste as your ingredients for your painting or work of art. Inspired by the Save the Beaches hotel project by German artist HA Schult, paper, wood, plastic, rope, textiles and whatever waste you can think of, is destined for a second life in the artwork your group will create in this environment-friendly workshop.

If your company has its own waste from the production process, this may be an inspiration for your own ‘company art’ program.

Looking for more?

Do you like these ideas? Next week I will post part 2 of this post, giving you 5 more tips for Green Social Activities.